The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, PC, MP
Minister of Science and Sport
May 23, 2019
Check Against Delivery
Hello, Toronto! Good morning everyone! Thank you to my dear friend and extraordinary colleague Member of Parliament Arif Virani for your warm welcome – and thank you all for being here. …Today is an exciting day!
I want to start by acknowledging that we are gathered on the traditional territory of several Indigenous Nations, and pay special recognition to the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.
I am delighted to be here today to announce some good news.
This is an exciting day for Canadian soccer players and fans across the country.
Soccer has the power to transform – not only the lives of Canadians but also our communities from coast to coast to coast.
It’s a sport that we find in almost every Canadian community and it helps build friendships that last a lifetime.
Soccer was brought to our country by immigrants and today it plays a strong role in bringing us all together.
I see it first-hand in the gyms and on the soccer fields in Etobicoke, and right across the country.
People from all walks of life, from every corner of the planet, playing the beautiful game together, and on the sidelines, you’ll see their parents cheering them on.
Soccer creates community.
And now, the world community of soccer is coming to Canada.
Our government supported the United bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup to come to Mexico, the United States and Canada, and it was an amazing day when we won that bid with our partners.
I’m here today to announce that the Government of Canada is building on our strong support for soccer by providing $4.3 million to the Canadian Soccer Association from now until 2020 to help Canada prepare for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
This is a chance for our soccer communities to grow and for us to encourage our young athletes to set and achieve goals, overcome challenges and learn life skills, like leadership and teamwork.
We saw it when we hosted the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada – it was an enormous success, and we know the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be, too.
In the world of soccer, Canada is constantly improving.
Last weekend, Christine Sinclair scored her 181st goal. She is now 3 goals away from tying the record for the most international goals ever scored. That’s an incredible achievement!
And Canadian Alphonso Davies scored his first ever goal two months ago with his new team Bayern [buy-urn] Munich at just 18 years old.
Canada can be proud.
And this is just the beginning!
To get people excited for the 2026 World Cup, today, with the help of men’s and women’s national team players and local soccer teams, we’re launching the “Keep Up Challenge.”
The “Keep Up Challenge” is a social media activation to get everyone excited about the World Cup.
I encourage all soccer fans and players across the country to join us – show off your skills and your passion for soccer – try the Keep Up Challenge, share your videos online, and be sure to use the hashtag #KeepUpChallenge.
After the speeches, we’ll have some national players displaying their talent, and then it’s your turn to show what you can do.
Before we get to that, I want to thank everyone who was involved in the successful United 2026 bid.
I especially want to thank the Canadian Soccer Association and the Canadian candidate host cities-Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal. You’re all doing amazing work, and together we’re going to welcome the world in 2026.
Now let’s play some soccer!